Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fishing in Alaska...aka grocery shopping

OK.  I live in Alaska. Salmon is a staple food, like pork or beef in Indiana.  One of the ways we catch salmon is a method called "dipnetting".

Dipnetting works by going to the mouth of the Kenai River (or one of the other authorized rivers) and standing chest deep in 50 degree ocean water then extending a 5 foot tall hoop with a large clear gill net on the end of a twenty foot pole then holding that pole against the in or out going current until tonnes of fish swim into it one at a time and then you drag it to the shore, whack the fish on the head with a club, hammer, rock, or fist and hand it off to your partner for cleaning or stack it on the sand until you can clean it yourself then you go back into the water and do it again one fish a time until you reach your limit of 25 per head of household and 10 for each dependent. 

Now you may be asking yourself, "Why did Basil write that statement in one single run-on sentence for which his high school English teacher would have booted him from class?" 

Answer, because that's what dipnetting it like.  For two days last week I stood in hypothermic water and managed to get a total of 30 fish, one at a time, to shore.  Could have been more, way more even, except that the Anchorage Daily News broadcast this huge run of fish that didn't really exist and half the population of Anchorage showed up Friday night to fight over the mostly non-existent fish.  It was a mad house.  Luckily I caught enough fish ahead of time that when the insane crowd showed I boogied on home with my family.

While it wasn't near my limit of 65 fish for my family, it was pretty good nonetheless.  But now I am tired, and sick to boot.  Was it worth it?   Well, with Salmon at $10 per pound, and my catch bringing in over 300 pounds of fish, I'd say yeah.

But my back is killing me.

Basil Sands

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